Drama Casting & News
Yoon-ah steals the hearts of two best friends in The King Loves
by | February 16, 2017 | 70 Comments

MBC’s upcoming historical romance melodrama The King Loves doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to release stills, but they are fully pre-producing the drama, which doesn’t yet have an airdate, so I can see how they might not want to show us everything so soon. Last week we caught our first glimpse of Im Shi-wan (Misaeng) in character, and now it’s his co-star Yoon-ah’s (The K2) turn.

The melodrama that’s based on a novel of the same name stars Im Shi-wan as Goryeo prince Wang Won (later King Chungseon), a power-hungry, ambitious ruler who has two faces: a virtuous outward one, and a snakelike inner one. He’ll have an epic bromance with his best friend, played by Hong Jong-hyun (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo), a young man of royal birth who loses everything to the crown prince and sets his sights on the one thing the prince can’t have: the woman he loves.

Yoon-ah plays the only daughter of the wealthiest man in Goryeo, an ambitious royal with insatiable greed played by Lee Ki-young (Mrs. Cop, Masked Prosecutor). She’ll be the Goryeo-era Scarlett O’Hara, a woman who comes between Im Shi-wan and Hong Jong-hyun and is loved so fiercely by them that they will ultimately be destroyed by their love for her. Jung Bo-seok (Monster) will play the hero’s father, King Chungryeol, and Jang Young-nam (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju) will be the hero’s mother, a Yuan emperor’s daughter who became a Goryeo queen.

So far the early stills look fresh and pretty, counter to all the cataclysmic tragedy we’ve been promised, but I’m sure there’s plenty of time for backstabbing frenemies to show their true faces. Here’s hoping that by “Goryeo Scarlett O’Hara,” they mean to make the heroine bold and fearless, and not just an object of affection who gets yanked back and forth between two rivals.

The King Loves will air sometime this year on MBC.

Via Sports Chosun


70 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Gem

    Here’s the thing, back when she did Prime Minister and I, I absolutely loved her. But with K2, I don’t know if the haphazard writing or her lack in skills or both did her disservice, but I really didn’t like her Anna. Here’s hoping this one does better and she can turn in a solid performance.

    • 1.1 nomad


    • 1.2 Lauren

      Too bad for K2 the writer screwed up and she was scammed. She was offered the role with strong-revenge Anna just like in the very first teaser in the red dress showing Anna burning picture but when they do it out of nowhere her character turned to weak Anna. Even Ji Chang Wook was scammed too.

    • 1.3 ET

      The writing was mostly to be blamed but Yoona and Ji Chang Wook weren’t good enough actors to rise above poor writing. In that show, only Song Yoon Ah could.

      Yoona is watchable only if she’s cast in the right role. I don’t know what to expect from this drama or her character. Just don’t be some noodle dancing heiress or Goryeo Goddess, she should be fine.

      • 1.3.1 Flightey Gazelles

        I haven’t watched The K2 but from what I read, there’s much emotion you can display without seeming incongruous when your character is written as a robot that mimics human behavior.

        I feel like in this instance that the writing was lacking, I put more blame on the Director. There’s a way to still utilize you actors’ potential and skills, even when writing fails. And with this Director, he has no excuse, he had a talented cast, Ji Chang Wook was certainly not lacking in that department. Song Yoo Na faired better because she’s the one that was in an interesting way. She’s the token complex character (never thought I’d use that negatively ever) of the series, he did the same too in YongPal, but it was Kim Tae Hee who lucked out.

        • stedens

          i agree with you completely. imo, the fault of K2 was the poor writing. not sure what JCW or Yoona could’ve done to rise above the little development they were given. much like Yong Pal, K2 focused too much on developing one character.

          i don’t think it’s that SYA was THAT much better at acting than the others (she’s definitely better than them and much better than Yoona, which makes sense given her years of experience). i think she just had so much more to work with as, like you put it, the token complex character.

      • 1.3.2 Lauren

        Not sure how can the two of them put through under their situation. The script is so lack no, let say there is no script in detail. Mostly Ji Chang Wook and YoonA scene were their own adlibs. The ending scene in Spain which they filmed it right at start also their ideas because there is no script from the writer. They were just told that they need to act as lover and that’s it.

        Not only the two main casts but also the character of politician too sorry I don’t remember his name. I followed their interviews after work done and so many sympathy feels from the cast about the plot and writing.

        • ET

          I never blamed the failure of K2 on Yoona or JCW. I just said that they weren’t actors who can alleviate the script and by that I don’t mean the lovey dovey couple scenes. I meant they couldn’t make me get into their characters or empathize with them. Let’s take an example from Missing Nine, a current show. It has reached heights of absurdity now but I am hanging in there largely because I like Bong Hee and recently grown to like Joon Oh. A lot of things don’t make sense and even characters like Joon Oh but thanks to the actors, they actually make you vested enough to find out what happens to them.

          It is not uncommon for writers or PDs to give ‘space’ or let actors adlib love scenes. A heavy hand in such things can kill creativity, naturalness and chemistry that the actors might otherwise have. Of course, the success depends on the actors’ ability and their chemistry. Again, let me take a leaf from another drama couple – 1% of Anything. It was revealed that most of the love scenes were adlib and boy, that one worked like magic! Ha Suk Jin and Jeon So Min had one of the best and most natural OTP chemistry ever.

    • 1.4 Bubbles

      I really liked her in The K2. I never saw her in anything before and I didn’t know her as an idol or singer or whatever she actually is but I started to like her pretty quickly in this drama. I didn’t end up liking what they did with her character whatsoever but I still really enjoyed how she displayed emotions. I am excited to see her next projects. That’s just my personal opinion though.

    • 1.5 Amie

      I really tried liking Yoona. Saw her first in that kdrama with Jang Keun Suk but that was a bit boring so I stopped watchin. I did finish Prime Minister but maybe the age dif was too much but she was ok there. In K2, I just don’t buy the whole thing, she was excruciating to watch and Ji Chang Wook is acting too much. I don’t feel the sincerity. And Yoona is way too thin, that bothers me a lot. Also one of the reason why I find it difficult to watch her.
      I will try to watch this before passing any judgement. If the story is good then….

      • 1.5.1 Emanresu

        “And Yoona is way too thin, that bothers me a lot. Also one of the reason why I find it difficult to watch her.”

        Yea. Well… That’s just like, your opinion, man.

        (If you get that reference I’ll have eternal respect for you.)

        In any case, yea, I think she looks fine. She looks naturally slender and doesn’t have that anorexic quality about her that true malnourished individuals have.

        Yes, she’s thin. But she seems healthy. And she looks phenomenal.

  2. Xxvxx

    She looks SO GOOD! Here’s hoping it’s not heart wrenching like Moon Lovers. I can’t take any of that anymore

    • 2.1 Ar

      She looks so striking here in that outfit with the red arm and. Usually she looks really washed out. I almost thought she was Oh Yeon Seo for a moment.

    • 2.2 dduah

      OMG SAME. Moon Lovers made my emotions into a mess

  3. Flightey Gazelles

    I’ll repeat my earlier sentiments, I hope its messy, messy messy ( the love triangle and the political wars that is, not the drama) and that its tragic in the best way!!

    Here’s to hoping it does what Moon Lovers failed to do!

    • 3.1 Jillifish

      Yes I second this! The only historical drama that did not disappoint me in this regard was The Princess’ Man.

  4. Autumn

    It looks promising! Crossed fingers that they write a strong female heroine. In my opnion the writer of K2 ruined the Anna character, hope this one will do better <3

    • 4.1 nomad


  5. UmbrellaMan

    Hmmm…pre-produced. Dramaland does not have a great track record with these. Maybe given time they can work out the kinks? Take lessons from American/western TV shows? – every single one of those shows are pre-produced. I used to secretly wish for pre-produced kdramas thinking it would create even better dramas, since they would have time, but, I think the production teams must work better under pressure.

  6. John

    I really do not get the Scarlett O’Hara reference.

    • 6.1 Kiara

      Same, especially when you think Vivien Leigh behind the character.

      • 6.1.1 Sera The Ms Temper

        Maybe because her character comes between these two guys? But what is the point of referring the character with Scarlett O’hara. Now i keep thinking about Scarlet O’hara played by Vivien Leigh and how Yoona’s character will be later. If end up it is just will be cliche love triangle between these three, it will be unnecessary reference. Maybe for some publicity, I don’t know.

      • 6.1.2 Lola

        By your comments, I guess you only know the film (please correct if I’m wrong).
        However, a film can only depict so much of a book and the story as well as characters were toned down.
        In the book Scarlett O’Hara is a young forward-thinking and smart women who does not want to be seen as a pretty accessoires. She sees right through the superficiality of the society during that time and makes fun of it which is also her flaw. She considers herself above society and is arrogant in that aspect.
        Later on, she steps up her game and becomes strong leading figure in helping out during the Civil War.

        Eun San (or Wan San in the book) is quite similar. She is smart and very open-minded when it comes early thinkings of democracy. Her father hides her as a boy in order to protect her from being sold to China which was common for women at that time. But Eun San saves women from being sold, as well. She speaks her mind and more importantly stands her ground.

        • Ar

          I really hope they don’t water her down. The book character you described sounds fascinating, but I’m worried about how the production is preferring to describe her as the object of affection that would bring down the two guys.

        • Kiara

          Correct, I’m only referring to the movie.

          There is no guarantee that this drama will follow the novel just like Gone with the Wind.

          The writers Park Chan-kyung (assistant writer “Healer”) and No Sun Jae (assistant writer “Mirror of the Witch”) don’t have much experience but we’ll see.

    • 6.2 news

      I laughed when I read that, then I laughed more when I read your comment.

    • 6.3 UmbrellaMan

      Yes, unless they plan to make her a tough, selfish and manipulative woman like Scarlett. And going off the movie, Scarlett never got between any men, let alone Ashley and Rhett. I’d say she got more between men and there prospective wives eg. stealing her sisters beau. Clearly we didn’t see the same movie.

      • 6.3.1 Carrie

        Yeah, I have to agree. Scarlett wanted (not necessarily loved) Ashley but never gets anywhere close to getting him to care for her. Rhett loves her and marries her, but sees that she doesn’t love him so he leaves. Neither man is obsessed with her, neither man has his life ruined by her.

        Did they just want to tie the show into something successful, and hope that the love given to “Gone With The Wind” would somehow transfer over to this project? Because that’s really not how it works.

        Just make her a good character, who can stand on her own without needing random, erroneous comparisons to other heroines.

        • Flightey Gazelles

          I kinda like the Scarlet O Hara association, means shell be flawed, no candy tears or Avatar-Aang (in his immaturity phase) imitation and hopefully, interesting.

    • 6.4 Doudou

      And when you read the book, Scarlett is awful worst than a bitch. She does everything that kdrama mum and kdrama exgirlfriend do but in a different area.

      • 6.4.1 Sera The Ms Temper

        I didnt read the book but after did a little research, I somohow agree with this.

  7. Chi

    Preproduced sageuk

    SBS: Moon Lovers, Saimdang
    KBS: Hwarang

    Hopefully MBC can make better sageuk or we can start the preproduced sageuk curse 😀

    Rebel is doing well so..

    • 7.1 soonoona

      Is rebel also a preprod project? Haven’t catch that show. Ugh the recent saeguk that its goodness still linger on my heart and mind was only MBDC. I hope this hero could be as awesome as Joseon’s Darling, Seija Coha tho.

      • 7.1.1 soonoona

        *MDBC. (Pardon my babo typo :))

      • 7.1.2 Chi

        Rebel is live-shooting, very life shooting actually

      • 7.1.3 Sera The Ms Temper

        Rebel is not pre produced, I believe.

    • 7.2 Grapes

      SBS: Saimdang Diary

  8. Bùi Quốc Khánh

    – tvN: Bride Of The Water God
    – MBC: The King Loves, Ruler
    – Webdrama: My Only Love Song

    • 8.1 Chi

      SBS: My sassy girl

      bride of the water god is not sageuk, its modern setting

  9. Sakura

    Yoona showed impressive acting in The K2, but the writing failed to show an amazing heroine we could have gotten.

    I can’t help but have high anticipation on The King Loves, because honestly Yoona looks more in her element in this one? Srsly why hasn’t she been cast in a historical drama before?

    Its gonna be one of the most hyped up dramas of 2017, so I REALLY hope it lives to the hype and that this will be Yoona’s major breakout role tbat solidifies her status as an actress.

    • 9.1 Lauren


    • 9.2 realiti

      Yoona has been casted in a CHINESE historical drama before, God of War Zhao Yun. Tried a couple of episodes but couldn’t get into it. Male lead not eye candy enough for me. Couldn’t warm up to his acting. Never seen him act before. I know, I sound so vain, but can’t help it =< 49 episodes too long to endure. God of War Zhao Yun seems popular in China though. Sucks for me because Kim Jung Hoon is in it too and I hadn’t seen him since Gong. Had major SLS for him then.

      I am hoping Yoona’s character is written well. I had dropped K2 even though I like Ji Chang Wook.

      • 9.2.1 ET

        I remember Yoona’s pictures from that Chinese drama. Thank goodness she looks much better here. Maybe because she looked too thin in that drama and she looks much healthier now. It was also worse because the Chinese actresses in period dramas usually look very beautiful.

        • Sera The Ms Temper

          How can I say – Yoona looked like pale in comparison with other chinese actressess in that drama in term of beauty. Not sure, maybe because she looks too skinny. I saw few episodes but couldnt get into it.

        • Emanresu

          @ET / @ Sera The Ms Temper

          Yoona looked phenomenally pretty in GOWZH.

          This is crazy talk. Sheer madness. Lol… 😉

  10. 10 lychee

    I’m looking forward to this because it’s definitely not the typical bubblegum sageuk romance drama but a dark and messy one in terms of politics and relationships which I live for. I’ve been waiting so long for Im Siwan’s comeback drama after Misaeng and I hope he chose the right one. Yoona has always been on the good side when it comes to idol actors from what I’ve seen of her in Prime Minister And I and The K2 so I think she’ll pull this character off just fine. Based on what I’ve heard it’s going to air in July so there’s a big possibility that it’a going up against Lee Jongsuk’s While You Were Asleep. Star power aside, I hope the better drama wins.

  11. 11 siesta

    i have the feeling the hair envy will be strong with this one..

    on a random note, is she wearing pants in that second still? and did they even have side pockets back then? lol

  12. 12 news

    “She’ll be a woman who comes between Im Shi-wan and Hong Jong-hyun and is loved so fiercely by them that they will ultimately be destroyed by their love for her.”

    Ok, this sounds so dramatic, I really hope the writers make her a woman worth being loved so fiercely.

  13. 13 Wag_a_Muffin

    I like her.
    I like him.
    I’ll give it a chance and wait to criticize any acting or writing until I’m sittin’ on my comfy chair, hoping to be taken back into Goryeo.

    If it stinks, I’ll drop it. If it’s great, I’ll be tha-rilled!

  14. 14 MM

    Haven’t seen Any prior projects of the lead actress before but pretty impressed by the acting of Si-Wan in Misaeng. Again, never into historical dramas but because of Si-Wan might give it a chance. The stills look as good as the ones from My Sassy Girl 2017 SBS.

  15. 15 Sera The Ms Temper

    MBC really going all out for sageuk this year. I love Rebel and the actors giving solid performances, looking forward for Ruler because of the main casts. Not sure about this drama yet, main casts alone are not that convincing to carry sageuk. Just hope the plot something great to watch.

  16. 16 Nadia

    This will not do well, the only Girls Generation member who is a decent actress is Sooyoung, Kwon Yuri is ok, but this actress, has the same facial express and it’s dead pan and maybe a smile after being told she’s beautiful. Whatever, if they can’t act, they should not be offered roles and that ESPECIALLY goes for Suzy.

    • 16.1 Lauren

      Guess you haven’t check her The K2 YoonA is very far from being what you’ve said. Her emotional scenes impressed me and surely she isn’t ‘has same facial express’.
      I don’t know about other two because I’m not a fan but I watched her drama so I can say for YoonA.

    • 16.2 Sera The Ms Temper

      I hope Soo Young will have a drama this year. Heard she was offered for some medical drama or anything. This girl needs to be given mlre chances to shine. Yuri and Yoona are just the same in term of acting.

    • 16.3 Emanresu

      I would suggest you watch her performance in both The Prime Minister and I and The K2.

      She’s wonderful in both, particularly in The Prime Minister and I, where the breezy rom-com treatment suits her most effectively.

      And I’m about sick and tired of the whole idea that unless an actor is all distraught, head in their hands, and E.M.O.T.I.O.N.A.L. or making faces like they’re doing an impression of Jim Carrey in The Pet Detective, that somehow they’re not acting. Just because that form of acting is the most overt and obvious does not mean it is inherently superior. Give me someone who under acts any day. Those eager to “play act” like they’re on some Lifetime tear-jerker need not apply.

      The late actor Jack Lemmon, who was known for “over acting” once said the best acting advice he ever received was when a director kept stopping him take after take, saying… “Less Jack… less…”

  17. 17 TrinPie

    The problem I have with dramas like these is the heroine is almost always nothing more then a plot point to cause strife for the heroes or get the heroes to do something. Gaksital, Hwarang, etc. I still love a lot of the shows that do this but feel like they could be even better if the heroines were more. Hopefully this show doesn’t do that but I’m really not holding on hope with the line “She’ll be the Goryeo-era Scarlett O’Hara, a woman who comes between Im Shi-wan and Hong Jong-hyun and is loved so fiercely by them that they will ultimately be destroyed by their love for her.”

    • 17.1 Flightey Gazelles

      Scarlet O Hara had her own ambitions, it was her story and she made things happen, turning lemons into lemonade. I just hope they give her a compelling motivation, and not Jackpot level revenge that eventually forgot its OWN HEROINE!!! lol

      • 17.1.1 manquant

        “Jackpot level revenge” lmao mte I almost felt bad for Damseo’s leading lady status being eclipsed by Seolim due to the knetz’ vastly negative response of the former. But then she died and I realized I didn’t miss her non-presence at all.

    • 17.2 Joyee

      I have the same sentiment when it comes to this kind of heroine. Although it can’t be helped that female leads are often used as a romance interest between men or a plot device, It is not right that they exist solely for that role and doesn’t have anything to offer. I also hate it when they introduce a strong female character only to be dragged out at the end. That makes it even WORST. One perfect example here is Hwarang.

  18. 18 WishfulToki

    From my corner, quietly enjoying Rebel Thief Who Stole the People, and waiting for Ruler Mask of the Mask…

    If this drama is based on a novel I am more inclined to give it a try, because it means someone has thought out a story. I like the open acknowledgement that this is going to be messy.

    Also, Rebel has proved once again how important it is to have a strong supporting cast. Neither the actress or the two leads are experienced so the show will definitely not be able to rest on their shoulders alone.

    And yes, Goryeo Scarlett? But hey, Princess’ Man was billed as a Romeo and Juliet story, and it was nothing like it (way more satisfying, sorry Shakespeare).

  19. 19 +Negative

    TBH, I don’t have the slightest interest to watch this. I had enough of power hungry, conniving royals and their tiring love triangles, unrequited love saeguks. Recycled plots has lost it’s appeal on me. I’m currently ‘recuperating’ frm that Hwarang mess.

  20. 20 Anindya16

    Anyone getting Goong’s vibe?

    • 20.1 yuta

      I’ve read the book summary and it’s much darker , more political than goong.

  21. 21 569

    May be mbc thought by pre-producting they can sell the drama with high price to china with yoona before china banned kdrama.
    But lucky for them yoonas recently released debut movie confidential assignment is a huge hit, it already surpassed 53million$ in tickets sales revenue.
    And she have been praised a lot for her role and some of her memorable scenes .I believe she is most hyped among after confidential assignment .Public will be eager to see her next work after CA.
    And the teasers looks promising.

    • 21.1 lychee

      She is not the most hyped in Confidential Assignment at all. Hyun Bin, Yoo Hae Jin, Kim Joo Hyuk and her are equally hyped if not more.

  22. 22 Lauren

    I’m the one who get hyped up. The still cuts look promising both Siwan and YoonA’s, looking for HongJongHyun.

    I hope the drama will be well written and intensed.
    Definitely looking forward.

    • 22.1 yuta

      You’re not the only one!

  23. 23 Jazz

    Urghhhh! Pass!

  24. 24 debbie

    “Here’s hoping that by “Goryeo Scarlett O’Hara,” they mean to make the heroine bold and fearless, and not just an object of affection who gets yanked back and forth between two rivals.” OH LORD please pleASE, here’s hoping AF

  25. 25 yuta

    I’m SO hyped for this drama. It’s my most anticipated kdrama for this year. I just really miss siwan in dramas and yoona with him is such a big bonus. Siwan is an awesome actor, no doubt. Yoona tho, i cringed at her past works but she was incredible in k2! Her character development sucks but she was so good at showing her emotions. i cried with her during her scene at the church and the hospital one with her dad. as for hong jonghyun, is he good? I didn’t watch moon lovers.

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